Mackintosh at the Willow - the original Willow Tearooms building, established in 1903.

Mackintosh at the Willow, A Wee History – Part 12.

We are delighted to announce that our BBC Documentary: Mackintosh’s Tea Rooms will be re aired on BBC Scotland TOMORROW at 19:15. (20.06.2020)

For us, it will be emotional watching this back and seeing all Celia and the teams hard work to get us opened for Mackintosh’s Birthday in 2018. We are asking, if you can, to donate to help us save the tea rooms from closure as a direct impact from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for all your support so far.…

The story of Mackintosh at the Willow, the original Willow Tea Rooms Building, continues when it is given a new opportunity to thrive in 2014. This is when Celia Sinclair purchases the building to prevent a forced sale as well as closure of the tea rooms and the loss of its contents while putting all possible effort in to protecting Mackintosh and Miss Cranston’s Legacy.

In 2016, the Willow Tea Rooms Trust restoration launched and finally marked the official beginning of the project.

The trust continues to fundraise and work hard to reopen a fully restored tea rooms. Their aim is the advancement of the arts, heritage, and culture through acquiring, restoring, preserving, and maintaining the property at 217 Sauchiehall Street permitting public access to the property. On 13th December 2016 visitors and guests were present to witness our Chair, Celia Sinclair, the Board of Trustees, Advisors and Councillor Frank McAveety launch, and ‘cut the ribbon’, for works to commence on this £10million project.

After years of hard work, the Willow Tea Rooms Trust were able to re-open the historic tea rooms building in June 2018, as Mackintosh at the Willow, with the addition of meeting rooms, an interactive exhibition and retail store in the adjoining building next door. The official opening, on the 7th September 2018, was performed by The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay

The Willow Tea Rooms Trust have received numerous awards crediting the extensive restoration project and have worked hard to support Mackintosh at the Willow’s training efforts with their young team, many of which have come through the Princes Trust’s Hospitality programme. There has been a focus on training and creative learning and education within schools and the local community which allows Mackintosh at the Willow to continue interacting with the community.

Here’s some more about our wonderful Makers!


Legendary Alan Dawson, Master Blacksmith and Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmith has worked on the larger metal pieces for the restoration including the large metal lighting ring in the Front and Back Saloon and the exterior signage on the front of the building.


Award winning Angus Ross and his team, based in Aberfeldy, specialise in combining traditional woodwork with the ancient process of steam-bending and the latest cutting technologies and have made the ladder-back chairs for the Front and Back Saloon areas


Bruce Hamilton has gained recognition as a producer of fine quality Charles Rennie Mackintosh reproduction furniture and has created the low back armchairs for the restoration that you will see in the Front and Back Saloon and the Gallery


Clark Contracts are the main contractors for the restoration and their Manufactured Joinery Division has also created the fixed seating as part of the restoration, including in the Billiard Room and the frame for the centrepiece Baldacchino in the Front Saloon. Frank McGourlick, expert joiner is a key member of the team working on the restoration.


Ingrid was tasked with making the colourful glass baubles for the two chandeliers comprising of the Salon de Luxe. Philips says one of the most challenging aspects of this work was including bubbles – known as seeds – inside the glass.

“As a glassmaker, I spend most of my life trying to melt glass without any seeds, so the first prototypes were without seeds that obviously were rejected.”


John Creed Designer and craftsman in metals, John has worked on the finer, detailed pieces for the restoration including the light shades and fittings in the Front and Back Saloon and Gallery, the fittings for the chandeliers in the Salon de Luxe and the fittings for the centrepiece Baldacchino in the Front Saloon


Jo Hormuth is a visual artist who has worked since 1984 on the restoration and recreation of period rooms that date between 1900 and 1905.


Kelvin and his team at Character Joinery specialise in traditionally skilled bespoke joinery and have created the striking silver finish chairs, tables and umbrella and coat stands for the famous and luxurious Salon de Luxe as well as the Order Chair for the Back Saloon


Linda specialises in stained glass conservation and is an accredited conservator who has worked for 40 years in stained glass design and colour work. Linda has worked on the restoration of the mirrored panels in the Salon de Luxe, fitting the glass in the doors, in the exterior signage, the lamps and fitting the glass to the Salon de Luxe chandeliers.


Rab is a glass designer, painter and accredited conservator, trained at Glasgow School of Art and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.  Rab’s work includes the design of the glass droplets for the chandeliers in the Salon de Luxe, the glass for the metal work in the exterior signage, the interior metal work and lamps and the glass for the silver Salon de Luxe chairs and tables.

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